Archived Blog Posts
Commercial Mold Prevention
SERVPRO vans outside a commercial facility in NJ on a Saturday morning.
Mold growth is NOT a new subject. In fact, many commercial structures end up closing their doors to business for months due to mold contamination. That is why in any large facility the importance of maintaining that facility to deter water leaks, moisture problems, and poor air quality should be the main focus.
Most mold growth is discovered after we get called to remediate a water issue, and we discover it growing behind removed material such as sheet rock, sink vanities, cabinetry, etc. In many instances, the mold growth has gone undetected for months, if not years.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the key to mold control is moisture control. Solve moisture problems before they become mold problems.
Mold Prevention Tips
- Fix leaky plumbing and leaks in the building as soon as possible.
- Watch for condensation and wet spots.
- Prevent moisture due to condensation by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level in the air (humidity). To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level in air, repair leaks, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid).
- Keep heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) drip pans clean, flowing properly and unobstructed.
- Vent moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible.
- Maintain low indoor humidity, below 60% relative humidity (RH), ideally 30-50%, if possible.
- Perform regular building/HVAC inspections and maintenance as scheduled.
- Clean and dry wet or damp spots within 48 hours.
- Don't let foundations stay wet. Provide drainage and slope the ground away from the foundation.
Potential health concerns are also an important reason to prevent mold growth and to remediate/clean up any existing indoor mold growth.
Obviously staying on top of moisture issues is the key to keeping mold under control.
Should your commercial building need mold remediation, remember that SERVPRO has specially trained technicians that can handle the job. No job is too large or small, and we are available 24/7.
What to do in case of a fire
Jersey City, NJ firefighters and equipment in action.
What should you do if you encounter a fire in your home or business? The common acronym R.A.C.E. provides some helpful guidelines. This stands for Rescue, Alarm, Contain, and Extinguish. These are the priority actions that should be taken. Unfortunately, they are often not followed in a panic as people typically try to fight the fire themselves, which costs precious time.
Rescue – The priority is life safety. Smoke and other deadly products of combustion can incapacitate an individual with just a few breaths. The top priority is rescuing anyone who is in personal danger.
Alarm – Sound the alarm by hitting the fire button on your alarm system or calling 911. A fire doubles in size every 45 seconds so alerting the fire department to begin their response is your second priority.
Contain – Stopping the spread of the fire is even more important than trying to extinguish the fire. Closing doors is a simple and effective way of stabilizing the scene and limiting fire spread. Moving a car away from a burning shed or using a garden hose to spray the vinyl siding next to a grill fire can likewise stop the fire from spreading and causing significantly more damage. All of these actions should only be attempted if they can be done safely.
Extinguish – Only after the first three actions have been completed should you attempt to extinguish the fire. Again, only if it can be done safely. Keep in mind that different types of fires (electrical, grease, gas-fed) may require special techniques to extinguish. At a minimum, every home and business should have an ABC class fire extinguisher handy as this is the most versatile type of extinguisher.
Of course, once the fire is extinguished, call SERVPRO because a quick response and immediate action can reduce the extent of smoke, water, and other damage.
Retail Floor Remediation
This recent job was caused by a sewage backup.
If your retail store suffers a water leak or flood, you must call SERVPRO as soon as possible. The faster we arrive, the more quickly we can take action to get your shop back to preloss condition so you can resume operating.
One of the essential steps in fixing water damage in your NJ business is removing water from the carpets. Some of the issues with wet carpets include:
- Causing delamination and requiring replacing.
- Preventing you from re-opening your store.
- Providing a potential breeding ground for mold
Our teams have a range of tools to help with water extraction. We have truck-mounted and freestanding pumps to deal with large puddles of water, even if your business has multiple stories. We have small, light carpet wands for vacuuming water from the carpets’ surface and getting into remote areas. We also have extraction tools that rely on the weight of our technician standing on them to press the water out of the carpet.
It is often possible to save carpets from water damage with thorough drying.
Certified SERVPRO Cleaned
A team of SERVPRO technicians cleans an NJ school after a COVID-19 outbreak.
Let us help you get back to business
As our communities reopen, we’re all moving back toward a new kind of normal. The expectations of visitors, customers, and employees who come into our establishments have evolved, and staying safe and well is a top concern. The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed what it means to be clean, and we’ve developed a program to help your business meet the new higher standard of clean that is now expected.
Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is a defensive cleaning program we’re offering to businesses and commercial locations to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. This proactive viral, pathogen cleaning program goes well beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning. By choosing Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you, your employees, your customers, and your community can rest assured that you’ve selected a higher cleaning standard – you are Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.
Extensive training and specialized products
As the #1 choice in cleanup and restoration*, we stand on more than 50 years of experience and expertise to help your business become Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned. Beyond fire & water, SERVPRO professionals are trained and experienced in biohazard decontamination and chemical spills – always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities.
From formulating and creating our proprietary cleaning products, like SERVPROXIDE, at our headquarters in Gallatin, TN, to taking the utmost care while disinfecting, we will ensure you and your business are set up to inspire consumer confidence as the economy continues to reopen.
3 C’s – Consult, Clean, and Certify
When the stakes are this high, you want a partner who has developed an industry-leading, proprietary training program, cleaning solutions, and remediation processes over decades. We’ve cleaned up some of the most challenging biohazards imaginable. Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned reflects our unique experiences and capabilities. The program is grounded in our uniqueness. 3 C’s: Consult, Clean, and Certify.
Every New Jersey business is different, which is why you’ll be assigned a Cleaning Protocol Consultant who understands your business and will create a cleaning program to meet your specific needs. This program will be developed based on your business type, size of space, amount of high-frequency touchpoints, foot traffic, and congestion points.
Based on your specific business needs, your location will undergo a thorough, deep clean, using exclusive cleaning products, according to protocols set forth by the CDC. Our employees have years of experience, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff performs. Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for the cleanup process, and disposal of hazardous materials. In the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 event, we will be there cleaning within 24 hours to ensure you get back to business as quickly as possible.
Once your New Jersey business location has been Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you will gain access to proprietary signage, digital emblems, and other collateral that communicates that you’ve selected a higher standard of clean available to help protect your employees and customers. And because we add the day, month, and year to that proprietary stamp of clean, your guests will know that not only did you choose Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, but that your location is being cleaned regularly at this standard.
Call today for a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned Consultation
We’re Here to Help – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – until life is back to normal in the communities we all call home.
Preventing Workplace Fires
Firefighters battle a heavy fire in a commercial building.
Fire Safety in the workplace is important all year round and our team here at SERVPRO of Jersey City North/The Heights would like to review workplace fire prevention & safety.
Here is a top-10 of tips to ensure a fire-safe workplace:
Step 1. Get Organized– Practice good workplace housekeeping. Clutter contributes to fires by providing fuel and by preventing access to exits and emergency equipment.
Step 2. Designated Smoking Areas – Smoke only in designated areas and extinguish smoking materials safely. Never smoke in storerooms or chemical storage areas.
Step 3. Fire Extinguishers – Maintaining the appropriate type and number of fire extinguishers and learning how to properly use a fire extinguisher.
Step 4. Electrical Hazards – Report all electrical hazards. Many fires start in faulty wiring and malfunctioning electrical equipment.
Step 5. Access to Control Panels – Electrical control panels need to have free access maintained so that the electricity could be shut off easily.
Step 6. Sprinkler Systems & Smoke Detectors – Never block sprinklers, firefighting equipment, or emergency exits. Observe clearances when stacking materials. Test sprinkler systems and smoke detectors at least annually.
Step 7. Chemical Safety – Use and store chemicals safely. Read the label and the Safety Data Sheet to determine flammability and other fire hazards. Provide adequate ventilation when using and storing these substances.
Step 8. Waste Control & Storage – Control the accumulations of flammable and combustible waste materials and residues so that they do not contribute to a fire emergency.
Step 9. Exits – Emergency exit diagrams should be posted and emergency exits should be well lit with neon-regulation signs.
Step 10. Contact Info – Employees should have a list of emergency contact phone numbers in case of emergency. Remember that people will often panic in an intense situation; therefore basics such as the company address, phone number, and floor plan should be posted. The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Plan app is a great tool for collecting, storing, and sharing this information.
For additional information or a free consultation, please call us today.
Tools for extracting storm water
Boards severely damaged by water.
How Multiple Extractors Can Help Flooded NJ Properties
Effective water removal after a flood requires multiple extraction devices. These disasters can occur in both natural rising water levels and through the structural breaches that can plague homes and businesses after severe weather events. Considering the harsh Nor’easters we get in NJ, restoration teams should stay prepared to respond quickly with the equipment to help.
The need for flood removal in NJ residences is an immediate concern that follows these disasters and does not readily subside on its own. Many factors come into play when standing water exists. Choosing extraction equipment relates to the depth of the standing water, the materials exposed, the location of this damage, and the availability of power for the chosen equipment. Each of these factors can point our SERVPRO technicians to the appropriate extraction tools for the job.
In many cases, successfully removing all standing water from your property involves the use of more than one extracting tool or pump. Even in situations where we use powerful machines like the truck-mount or self-priming pumps to remove standing water, the intake hoses for these machines are not rated to work well when the depth of pooling water drops under two inches. Once this occurs and there is a noteworthy decrease in constant water draw, other units must pick up the remaining water.
Smaller and more portable units such as our wet-vacs with extraction wands can help to remove water once the overall depth drops below this critical two-inch margin. Eliminating as much of the standing water as feasible helps later drying with air movers and dehumidifiers to become more effective and efficient, so we remove as much pooling water and excessive moisture as possible with our light wands.
Flooding can be a devastating situation for many area homes after a severe weather event, but our SERVPRO of Jersey City North/The Heights team can help. We have multiple extraction units to help rapidly dry your property and make it “Like it Never Even Happened.”
Preparing your business for a disaster
SERVPRO of Jersey City North/The Heights assisting a commercial customer on a Saturday.
Disasters like water damage, fire damage or flood, no matter how big or small, can never be predicted. But you CAN prepare for them!
The best way to reduce business interruption following a disaster is to plan for it NOW. Preparation is a key component for making it through any size disaster, no matter how big or small.
According to the latest industry research, 50% of all businesses never recover after a disaster. Of the businesses that do open, approximately 75% of those businesses had a plan in place.
One of our most effective tools in helping customers in the event of an emergency is the ERP or Emergency Ready Profile. This profile provides all the critical information needed in emergency situations and minimizes business interruption.
The main reason to have an ERP done for your facility or home is:
- It provides a concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
- It is a guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
- It is an identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
- It provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas, and priority contact information.
This invaluable service is offered at no cost to our customers and leaves them with peace of mind that their home, office, or school will be ready for whatever happens.
This service can also be done for residential properties, so homeowners can rest assured they have the information at hand when a disaster strikes.
Be prepared! Call SERVPRO to schedule your Emergency Ready Profile and rest easy knowing that we will be faster to your disaster!
Proper Water Remediation
Water damage in warehouse.
Wastewater is any water that has been affected by human use. But did you know that there are different grades of wastewater? Should your home be affected by water damage, it is imperative to act quickly to mitigate damage and prevent further damage such as mold growth.
Floodwater that does not pose an immediate health threat is known as clean water. Clean water floods can result from malfunctioning appliances, toilet holding tanks, and melting snow and rainwater. Clean water home floods are generally safe for you to clean up yourself, but remember--time is an important factor. Standing clean water can become greywater if left untreated.
Greywater refers to wastewater that is not contaminated with fecal matter. As far as household wastewater goes, greywater could include water from bathtubs and showers, appliances such as dishwashers, a weather event, an overflowing plumbing fixture or appliance, or even a broken pipe.
When flooding occurs, it can saturate carpeting, furniture, and drywall. If you experience a home flood with greywater, wear protective gear, and keep children and pets away from the flooded area. If the flood is extensive, such as several inches of water in the basement, it is advisable to hire professionals to safely clean up and decontaminate the area. Cleanup must begin as soon as possible as greywater can become blackwater if left untreated.
Blackwater is wastewater contaminated with human waste, floodwater, or water contaminated with chemicals.
Blackwater floods are the most dangerous and the most destructive and must be cleaned and mitigated immediately. Because of the unsanitary conditions of the water, items such as carpets, upholstery, and drywall are often unsalvageable. Contact with blackwater can cause illness in both humans and pets.
Having water damage in your home is never a pleasant experience, and oftentimes it is destructive, and disruptive - affecting multiple rooms, floors, levels – of a home, office, or multiple dwelling. Knowing whom to call and when could mean all the difference in keeping contamination and damage to a minimum.
Remember that you can call SERVPRO of Jersey City North/The Heights twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. We will be there to survey and clean up your water damage quickly and get you back to your normal routine as quickly as possible.
Leaking Hot Water Heater?
Maintenance being performed on a hot water heater.
Sooner or later everyone will experience a leaking hot water heater. But this minor emergency doesn’t have to become a major disaster.
Here’s a list of steps you can take to minimize the damage from a leaking heater:
Confirm that it is, in fact, your water heater that’s leaking.
Sometimes looks can be deceiving. If you see a puddle of water under your hot water heater, it’s obvious why your first thought would be a heater leak. But that may, in fact, not be the problem.
If it’s a small puddle, your first step should be to clean up the water and inspect the heater. Do you see any wet fittings or other signs of leakage from the tank itself? Check your surroundings for other water sources? Maybe there’s a nearby window or pipe that is the actual source of the water you see. Don’t forget about the effect of gravity! If your floor slopes, the water may have traveled from a different source point to the place where it ultimately pooled.
Turn off the water.
If you do have a leaking water heater, the next recommended step is to turn off the water.
Your hot water heater should have its own shut-off valve.
If your valve is broken, you may need to shut off the water to your home. If you need assistance, reach out to your local expert professionals.
Cut the power.
Whether you have a gas or electrically powered water heater, your next step is to shut off the fuel source that powers your heater.
A gas tank should have its own dedicated shut-off gas valve. You want to make sure the gas is off so your heater will be safe to work with. If you have an electric tank, you can shut off the power at the breaker.
Try to determine the location and cause of the leak.
Now that the water and power are off, you will be in a better position to assess your situation and try to determine the location and course of your leak:
Check the pipes that connect to your heater for any loose fittings. This may just require quick tightening with a wrench.
- Check your pressure relief valve. If the temperature or pressure is too high, this could be causing valve leaks. Your water heater should be around 120 degrees Fahrenheit and the pressure shouldn’t be over 80 PSI.
- Check the drain valve to make sure it doesn’t need replacing.
- Check the bottom of the water heater itself -- it may be that the tank itself is cracked and needs to be replaced.
If you determine that it is your tank that is leaking and the leak is serious, you may want to drain the tank to minimize further water damage.
Hopefully, the leak from your hot water heater hasn’t caused too much water damage. But if you need professional assistance, the restoration pros at SERVPRO of Jersey City North/The Heights are here to help. We’re equipped to handle any size water damage restoration needed for either residential or commercial buildings.
Winter Storm Prep for Businesses
A winter storm hits NJ.
New Jersey is getting a significant storm that can batter us with wind, rain, snow, and flooding.
If you own a business that is in a high-risk area for flooding, these tips can help you minimize the damage you may be unfortunate enough to endure
1. Store important documents and valuables in a location that will be dry and secure.
2. Check your gutters and spouts to ensure they won’t be clogged.
3. Make sure to have a working sump pump.
4. If possible, move any electronics or other costly items to a higher floor or at least try to raise them several feet off the floor to minimize any flood damage.
1. Turn off electricity in any affected areas. Even if there’s a power outage, the power may be suddenly restored without notice and could cause a shock hazard.
2. Be cautious of any structural compromises or falling debris ff you choose to enter a damaged building.
3. Keep out of the floodwater as much as possible to reduce the risk of slip-and-fall hazards and bacterial contamination.
4. Be sure to wear protective clothing – including slip-resistant shoes, gloves, eye protection, and a mask – in order to minimize potential risks.
When flooding occurs, the quicker you can start your cleaning and restoration efforts, the better your chances of minimizing long-term damage and costs.
Here at SERVPRO of Jersey City North/The Heights, our expert technicians are available 24/7 to respond to any flooding emergency big or small. We have the advanced training, skills, and equipment necessary to clean and restore your business to its pre-flood condition as quickly as possible.
Smoke Damage Requires Professional Help
The aftermath of a dryer fire in NJ.
Smoke damage can make your home a dirty, smelling mess. Whether you’ve suffered a major fire catastrophe or had smoke damage accumulate from the presence of fire in your home, you want to start cleaning up smoke stains as soon as you can in order to prevent permanent damage.
Our team at SERVPRO of Jersey City North/The Heights has seen our share of fire incidents as Professional Cleaning and Restoration Leaders in this community so, we know what smoke damage can do to a home.
Make Sure the Area is Safe
If your incident was a small kitchen grease fire, there is probably minimal risk. However, if the fire burned through a significant section of your home, you want to be sure the area you enter is structurally sound and cleared by officials before anyone can attempt to start fixing it.
Dispose of Everything that Can’t Be Salvaged
The first step of the cleaning process is to get rid of everything that can’t be saved.
Be especially wary of food that may have been contaminated, plastics that may have melted, or materials that are too stained to be cleaned.
Vacuum Up Debris
We have specialized equipment to clean up debris.
Soot is greasy, it is best to wait for a professional to clean soot-stained surfaces than make a bigger mess.
Clean up Odors
You can clean some fabric and upholstery yourself that may have avoided smoke stains may still have absorbed odors.
If you have fabrics that are dry clean only, be sure to take them to a dry cleaner that specializes in smoke removal or fire treatment.
For fabrics that can go in a washing machine, add a cup of white vinegar and a cup of baking soda to your regular load to clean the smoke damage. A mixture of white vinegar and baking soda can also be used to spot clean carpeting and upholstery.
Even after a full cleaning, there may still be some lingering stains and odors. To mitigate this, we use a sealing primer.
We use specialized sealers for different surfaces. For example, on painted walls, we use a stain concealing primer followed by a topcoat of latex paint. For wooden surfaces, we use a sealer designed specifically for wood or particleboard.
If you need professional assistance in cleaning up after a fire incident, SERVPRO of Jersey City North/The Heights is here to help. Our specialized technicians have the advanced training and equipment needed to clean and restore your property, helping you get your life and property back to normal ASAP.
NJ Deep Freeze of 2022
Water from a broken pipe inside is causing icicles to form on the exterior wall of this NJ home.
New Jersey is experiencing a deep freeze that is expected to continue for at least the next week. This has and will result in frozen and bursting water pipes in many homes, offices, and schools throughout the region.
SERVPRO has been on the scene, helping many homeowners and businesses by extracting water and drying basements, crawl spaces, floors, and sheetrock.
To avoid future frozen and broken pipes during long-time freezing temperatures, it is easy to take the following steps:
- Wrap outside faucets
- Caulk around pipes where they enter the house
- Disconnect garden hoses
- Drain in-ground sprinkler systems
- Let a stream of water run if the temperatures dip below freezing
- Open cupboard and vanity doors in the kitchen or bathroom
- Make sure the thermostat is set to constant temperature
If, however, you do experience broken pipes, make sure you take quick action to have the water extracted and your home or business dried out properly. Call SERVPRO and we will make it “Like it never even happened.”
Cleaning a Flooded Basement
The roots of this tree penetrated and clogged a sewer line causing it to back up into a basement.
Groundwater flooding is basically water in your basement caused by seepage or flows through the walls or foundation floor.
According to State Farm Insurance, there are four common sources of water entering basements. Each source has its own specifics and requires its own course of action.
Surface water running down foundation walls.
If this is the first instance of water problems in your basement, the first thing to check for is surface water draining down next to the foundations. Water coming in at one location or only at the exterior foundation wall indicates surface water problems. Here are some things to look for once you get outside.
- Overflowing gutters: leaves
- Overflowing gutters: downspouts
- Downspout distance
- Pavement slope
- Landscape slope
Groundwater in water-saturated soils is being pushed into the basement by hydrostatic pressure.
If no surface water sources are found, then the source of the water is likely subsurface groundwater under hydrostatic pressure. When the groundwater levels outside the basement rise above the level of the floor, the basement acts like a boat in a pond. If a boat is sitting in water, water will leak in through any open cracks or holes. It works the same way with a basement. Hydrostatic pressure can push water through hairline cracks.
Unfortunately, subsurface groundwater problems are more difficult and more expensive to fix than surface groundwater problems.
Storm sewer water from the municipal storm sewer system backing up into the home's existing perimeter foundation drain and leaking into the basement.
If you have an older house within town and the house has a basement with no sump pump, it is likely the perimeter foundation drain system connects directly into the city storm sewer system. If the level of the basement is below the street level, there is the potential of stormwater backing up in the city storm sewer system and being pushed into the perimeter foundation drain system. This can saturate the soils around the house at the basement level with stormwater under hydrostatic pressure, causing water to leak in.
- Underground springs
- Stormwater backing up
- Sewer water backing up
Sanitary sewer water from a clog in your home's sewer line. If there is a clog in the municipal sewer line, or the combined municipal storm/sanitary sewer system backing up into the home's drain system, it can cause sewer water to come up through sink drains and floor drains on lower levels.
Whatever the cause of water in your basement, remember it is important to have it dried out as soon as possible by a professional. SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch is available 24/7 and will be able to get to your water damage quickly.
Training for Excellence
A photo of Meek holding his latest certification as a Water Damage Technician.
Congratulations to our technician, “Meek,” on completing his certification as a Water Damage Technician from the IICRC. At SERVPRO of Jersey City North/The Heights, we believe in service excellence and that begins with having professionally trained team members. We don’t hire “laborers.” We employ “Technicians” and invest in their training to tackle even the most challenging jobs professionally. This particular certification from the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification is the gold standard in the restoration industry. Our team members are constantly taking courses to stay current on the latest trends, techniques, and tools of the trade.
Take a look at our reviews and you will consistently see comments about our professionalism in action. We take pride in these skills and our ability to make someone’s mess, “Like it never even happened.”